Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Class costing

One of the very interesting things about Trailblazer, which I've mentioned here already, is that it "costs" out the classes in order to numerically balance them against each other. It found, for example, that the fighter and rogue were at the bottom of the heap, with paladain just barely above them.

For fun, I've done a few of the Complete classes using the same methodology, and come up with a bit of costing data for a few of them as well. From Complete Warrior, I did the Hexblade and the Swashbuckler, which came up at .85 and .86 respectively; barely better than the fighter or rogue; right about on par with the paladin. The Ninja from Complete Adventurer comes in at .85, also weak. In fact, that was probably a very generous interpretation of the Ninja's class abilities; I'd probably fudge the total down to .80 or so, since the class abilities aren't really any better than the Rogue's (and many of them are in fact the same class abilities anyway.)

I haven't yet done the Scout or the Spellthief or the Samurai (although of those, really only the Scout interests me much anyway) but I expect to find that it's similarly weak.

Now, this sounds terrible from a basic D&D perspective, and in many ways it is, but I've also come to another conclusion in the last few days. I don't play D&D. My preferred house rules include severly limiting magic. Lately, my tendency is to chop spellcasting classes in half and use them as something like d20 Modern advanced classes. Therefore, without the cleric, druid and sorcerer (and to a lesser extent the Wizard) throwing off the power curve, all of the classes are much more balanced against each other, just at a slightly lower level than the average if you factor in those other classes too.

That doesn't mean that the Trailblazer improvements to the classes aren't necessarily welcome, although it does make them not nearly as necessary. Plus, if I adopt them, that means I need to modify all the Complete classes that I allow into the game too, in order to compensate. And given that, I'm less likely to embrace the Trailblazer innovations whole hog after all; it's more work for me to do so, all because of the fact that I specifically don't want yet another D&D clone feel.

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